The Daily Telegraph
Cleverly vows to stop the boats as he takes up role in the Home Office
JAMES CLEVERLY, the new Home Secretary, has said he is “absolutely committed to stopping the boats” as he took the baton from Suella Braverman.
Pointing to his experience working with Home Office colleagues on illegal migration, the former foreign secretary said he was dedicated to halting the dangerous Channel crossings “as promised”.
He was moved to the home brief in yesterday’s reshuffle after Mrs Braverman was sacked by Rishi Sunak.
The Daily Telegraph understands that Mr Cleverly, who is seen as a good communicator, was wanted by Tory strategists to have a domestic-facing role for the election campaign.
The Cabinet reshuffle comes two days before the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of the Government’s plan to deport migrants to Rwanda.
If the Home Office wins, the first flights could take off as early as the new year. If it loses, it is likely to prompt demands from within the Conservative Party for the UK to quit the European Convention on Human Rights.
Speaking to broadcasters following his appointment, Mr Cleverly said it had been a “huge privilege” to serve in the Foreign Office.
He said: “In that time I worked very closely with my colleagues in the Home Office, cracking down on illegal migration, reducing the number of small boats arrivals.
“And now, as the Home Secretary, I am absolutely committed to stopping the boats as we promised, but also making sure that everybody in the UK feels safe and secure going about their daily business, knowing that the Government is here to protect them. It is a real privilege to serve.”
Mr Cleverly dodged a question on whether he wanted to distance himself from the language of Mrs Braverman, who sparked a political firestorm last week by accusing the police of bias towards “pro-palestinian mobs”.
He said: “Well, I intend to do this job in the way I feel best protects the British people and our interests. I have had a very good conversation with the Prime Minister, who had made it very clear that he wants us to deliver on our promises to stop the boats, to protect the British people, make sure everybody feels secure in their lives.”
Mrs Braverman’s position had been hanging in the balance for some days after she wrote an unauthorised article in which she claimed there was “a perception that senior police officers play favourites when it comes to protesters”. The Rwanda policy is central to Mr Sunak’s pledge to “stop the boats” and his Illegal Migration Act, which gives ministers powers to detain anyone illegally entering the UK and deport them to a safe third country or to their homeland.
The plans have been blocked since last summer, when the European Court of Human Rights issued an injunction halting the first flight until the legality of the policy had been determined by the UK courts.
Lord Cameron paid tribute to his predecessor, saying the Foreign Office had been “well led by James Cleverly, with whom I look forward to working in his vital new role”.
He added: “It will be an honour to serve our country alongside our dedicated FCDO staff and provide the continued leadership and support that they deserve.”